Thursday, April 28, 2005

Sales meeting work comes in three flavors: denial, avoidance, and raspberry panic.

Right now I'm in denial of all the projects piling up into a giant bottleneck, have you noticed? It's kind of like the toilet you don't want to flush because you know it's going to back up and overflow.

I'd rather blog than plunge a clog. I think that's my new motto.

Onward to avoidance! In which our hero nonchalantly exits the proverbial bathroom and hopes to be long gone before any "issues" are discovered.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

I'm going to invent a fad diet called The Monochromatic Revolution. And because you're all my special friends, here is an exclusive sneak preview of what is soon to be known as the diet that revolutionized the way people approach healthy eating and weight loss. It will also make me rich, but that's beside the point.

This groundbreaking regimen is based on ancient principles of light infusion, color psychology, nutrient density, and inner harmony. Of course, all supporting scientific studies and case-based evidence has been reviewed by scholars from around the world. I won't tell you what they said when they reviewed it, but at least one review contained the word "remarkable."

So here it is, an excerpt from my yet-to-be-written new book, Take Control: Lose Weight and Feel Great with the Monochromatic Revolution!

I guarantee you will lose weight if you follow this plan to the letter in combination with the recommended 90 minutes of physical activity per day.*

How it works: Each day you will eat only foods of a certain color. On "red" days you will eat only red foods. As much as possible, the foods you choose should naturally contain the color of the day, so you can't just add red food coloring to your mayonnaise or binge on cherry Lifesavers.

For example…

Day 1: Orange
Breakfast: 1 tangerine, 1/2 cup sliced mango, 1 slice pumpkin bread with 1 tsp orange marmalade
Snack: 10 baby carrots
Lunch: 1 baked yam, 3 oz. cheddar cheese, 1 ripe peach
Snack: 1 cup sliced cantaloupe
Dinner: 1 cup macaroni and cheese, 1 cup baked acorn squash, 1/2 cup mandarin orange sections
Dessert: 1/2 cup orange sherbet

You may also choose to purchase our convenient, color-coded meal packages that contain an entire day's ready-to-eat meal plan. These packages will be available for a limited time at the low, introductory price of just $29.95 each – that's a savings of nearly 30% off the suggested retail price!

When you've reached your goal weight, then you'll be ready to embark on the next step of Multichromatic weight maintenance. You'll begin combining foods of different colors in the same meal. Proceed with caution here, because the wrong color combinations can sabotage your weight loss and reduce your sense of well being. My book will explain precisely how to avoid this pitfall and learn from common mistakes.

Are you intrigued? Do you happen to be sitting on a $30,000 advance and a publisher's contract? Then go ahead and float it this way, sister. I'm more than willing to start turning out chapters.

*Consult your physician before beginning this or any other diet and/or exercise program.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Oh, how I love ordering yarn online. I've only ordered from and I can't see any reason to ever not order from them because they're so wonderful. Well okay, maybe if I needed a specific type of yarn and they didn't have it… well. That would be a reason. But I digress. Go order something from right now, you'll see what I mean.

I love coming home and finding a box of yarn in the mail. And then opening it. And feeling it. And making swatches, and unraveling them, and swatching some more. I won't lie. I don't really make proper swatches. I don't do the whole 4x4 washed and dried and properly gauged swatch route. I knit until I get bored, check the gauge, figure that looks about right, and then start a new project.

The problem is actually that I love starting new projects but then I get bored and shove it behind something heavy, like a bookcase.

So yesterday I came home to a fresh box of yarn that I'd ordered for a new baby project. Someone at work is always pregnant. And I love making baby things. So I stashed my current project (that brings the tally to, um, seven half-knitted things stuffed out of sight) and spent the evening playing with the new yarn.

I have no excuse for ordering new yarn, actually. I have an entire room devoted to holding yarn. Don't get too excited, the room is also holding sewing materials, scrapbooking and card making supplies, paint, canvases, etc. This room basically holds a bunch of stuff that keeps the right side of my brain from becoming bored, restless, and destructive. Inner children need art supplies, that's just the way it is. Luckily I have a husband who understands this and doesn't begrudge the extra room being used in such a way. Now that I think about it, the room also houses his "electronics graveyard," which, in a way, also nurtures his own geeky inner child.

Anyway, I ditched knitting group last week due to a school project emergency, but I hope the ditching wasn't contagious to the rest of the group. I'm feeling knitty. And no, I didn't actually mean that as a pun. But these I did:
  • holy knit
  • knit happens
  • knit hits the fan
  • I have to take a knit
  • looks like knit
  • smells like knit
  • they knit all over it
  • are you knitting me?
  • take knit
  • give a knit
  • what is all this knit?

I now open the floor to all you lurking punsters. You know who you are.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Over the weekend, Gertrude picked up the adorable but frustrating habit of awakening at the crack of dawn and plodding into her parent's room for a squirmy, restless, early morning cuddle. The sweet cheek stroking and hugging would last for about five minutes before it degenerated into whiny demands for television, snack foods, beverages, and all of my pillows (not one, but all of them).

I've been trying to be patient with it, because I know it won't last. I was just thinking back to Matilda's days as a cuddly 3-year-old. She used to do the same thing, wake me up wanting snuggles, and more often than not I sent her back to her own bed. I wish I would have cuddled her more when she was small and cuddly, because now getting her out of bed in the morning requires bracing yourself for growling, flailing, and sometimes the baring of teeth.

It's very hard to be patient when you're robbed of the last good hour of sleep before the alarm on a Monday morning.

It's less hard when you open your eyes and see a smiling, bright-eyed little one resting her chin on the edge of your mattress.

It's not fair that they have such power over us. Blame the cuteness.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Leading off with the TMI news of the day, it's that time of the month and not only do I feel compelled to eat everything within arm's reach, coincidentally none of my pants seem to fit.

So I'm crabby. Because the pants I wanted to wear this morning looked like sausage casings. And I dreamed incessantly about a gay couple down the street throwing out perfectly good bar stools because they'd gone out of style, and I really wanted them to give me their old bar stools, but they told me I wasn't cool enough to pull them off. Instead, they gave me a chair shaped like a high-heeled hooker shoe. So here I am, in fat pants, feeling bloated, dissed, and unworthy of nice bar furniture.

But thankfully today is not about me! It's happy-birthday-day to my sweet husband, the one who makes being married new and fun every day, who laughs at the same twisted humor I do, and talks to me about important stuff like feelings and ideas. He's the kind of dad other kids wish they had. His girls always come first, and you can see it in his eyes how much they mean to him, and how he'd do anything to make sure they grow into beautiful, smart, happy human beings.

He also has this annoying knack of guessing what his presents are with spooky accuracy, or wheedling the secrets out of me. This year is no exception. But I think I've kept him in the dark on at least one thing. I hope he at least acts surprised.

Tonight is dinner at Bandana's ("We hand rub all our meats!") followed by Angel cake, as Gert calls it, and cool whip. Draw your own conclusions.

In the meantime, birthday boy has tagged this blog for its first ever Meme:

Immediately following there is a list of different occupations. You must select at least 5 of them (feel free to select more). You may add more if you like to your list before you pass it on (after you select 5 of the items as it was passed to you). Each one begins with "If I could be..." Of the 5 you selected, you are to finish each phrase with what you would do as a member of that profession. For example, if the selected occupation was "pirate" you might take the phrase "If I could be a pirate..." and add to it "I would sail the 7 Seas, dating lasses from around the worlde." See how easy that is? Here's the list:

If I could be a scientist...
If I could be a farmer...
If I could be a musician...
If I could be a doctor...
If I could be a painter...
If I could be a gardener...
If I could be a missionary...
If I could be a chef...
If I could be an architect...
If I could be a linguist...
If I could be a psychologist...
If I could be a librarian...
If I could be an athlete...
If I could be a lawyer...
If I could be an innkeeper...
If I could be a professor...
If I could be a writer...
If I could be a llama-rider...
If I could be a bonnie pirate...
If I could be an astronaut...

My answers:

If I could be a linguist... I would have done the college professor who taught the classes, because lordy was he hot. In a patched-jacket, unkempt, intellectual, language-wrangling sort of way. See, you think I'm kidding but I'm not.

If I could be a gardener... I'd be able to figure out a better method for starting seeds than setting them out in trays of dirt on the windowsill of my bedroom where my cat might easily mistake it for a place to take a crap. Because, you know, there ain't nothing like crapping in front of a window when the opportunity presents itself.

If I could be an athlete... I'd want to be the sort of creepy, circus-performer type of person who can bend over backwards and stick his or her out head between his or her knees.

If I could be a librarian… I would wander around all day opening books at random and smelling them. Mmm, bookish, inky, musty, papery, nostalgic smell. Let someone else reshelve them, my eyes are too crossed from lack of proper oxygen.

If I could be a scientist... I'd find a way to bottle that bookish smell and market it to English majors and linguists as an aphrodisiac.

In return, I shall tag one of my favorite people whom I selfishly declare don't post nearly often enough: Momma-YaYa.

And I would also tag Carol if she had a blog, but as far as I know she does not, and she should, because she has interesting things to say. If Carol were to start a blog, the above material would make an excellent first post… Just sayin.

I am going to refrain from selfishly tagging a certain very pregnant person because you don't want to do anything to irritate a person who would rather be having a baby than doing just about anything at the moment.

Thank you, and good night.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

It's okay, I'm still alive!

But I'm sure you knew that, because if you read Gary's site you surely know that he wouldn't be talking about a zebra penis if his wife had just checked out. Not right away, at least.

I'm not going to say anything about the new pope, because no matter how unCatholic a person may be, it's just not right to mention any religious leader, including Benedict XVI, in the same post as a zebra penis. The fact that I have just done so is merely my own little "score one" for the altar boys. End of nondiscussion.

I was brought up Catholic, and I attended 12 years of Catholic school. When I think about how much money my parents spent on tuition they couldn't afford, it makes me sad. They really couldn't afford it. We were always in debt, and I went to school with a bunch of stupid rich kids who made me feel like crap for wearing K-Mart tennis shoes with my plaid uniform. And they dragged us to church every morning where the other kids would laugh at anyone who even half-assed participated in the service. I went to 3 different Catholic grade schools and Catholic high school, and the climate was the same. It was cold, oppressive, cliquish, and uncaring. Anyone who had a problem fitting in or doing well academically was made to feel like they were the problem.

I'm sure my parents are still paying off that education, and I'm still trying to feel okay about myself.

Every time I hear anyone with a conservative political agenda talk enthusiastically about the "Catholic youth" I feel a little bit like throwing up. But I guess that's just me.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

We met with our friends at Alternative Mortgage Solutions (highly recommended) yesterday to see about refinancing our house. Gathering up all the pay stubs, tax returns, and such brought back all the horrible, heart-palpitating anxiety of two years ago when we were buying our first house and trying to keep the deal from falling through two days before closing due to sudden, complicated financial circumstances.

The preliminary stuff went smoothly, and we brought up the idea of paying off a few bills with the equity in our house, depending on what it might reappraise for. The loan we were investigating would let us borrow up to something like 85% of the equity in the house.

(Just so you know, when I say things like "reappraise" and "equity," I'm totally talking out of my ass.)

I thought to myself, wouldn't it be cool if our house had shot up in value so much that the equity would entirely wipe out our credit card debt? So I started adding up in my head how much the house would need to appraise for.

Turns out, we would need to live in the only eight-story, fourteen-bedroom Victorian mansion on our modest block of suburban split-levels.

Coming back down to reality, I pointed out a few of the nastiest creditors of whom we would definitely like to be rid, and that seemed feasible.

("Feasible" is a word I use only when speaking of financial matters, and I'm not sure why.)

But I'm not even convinced any of this is really going on right now because two days ago I cracked my head on the corner of an open cabinet door. For all I know, I'm lying on the kitchen floor bleeding out of my skull, and all recent events have been a very vivid, mildly unsettling coma dream. And you were there! And you. And you. And Uncle Fred. And little Toto…

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

I made several life-and-death decisions this past weekend.

Specifically, I spent a lot of time on my knees in the strip of dirt I call a garden, hearing arguments from both sides of the perennial ground cover debate.

I have this weird yet somewhat attractive (if you're into that sort of thing) perennial plant that refuses to give up its territorial hold on a certain spot of land. I've pulled it out, tilled the soil, mulched over it, and no matter what it just keeps coming back. If only the rest of our lawn were so resilient.

Not surprisingly really, with the warm weather we've been having, the damn ground cover has sprouted right up, invited friends, and chilled a few six-packs.

I went in Saturday morning with the mindset that I was going to pull everything (yet again) and really stay on top of it this year. I have a lot of plans for that strip of dirt – tomatoes, peppers, pole beans, cucumbers, and a variety of herbs. We're not set up to accommodate decorative foliage.

As I started mercilessly digging out hunks of earth and roots, I noticed something. Mixed in among the annoyingly persistent greenery were happy little strawberry plants sporting bright yellow blossoms.

So here we had a dilemma. I have an "arrangement" with plants in my garden: I will offer protection in the form of watering and weeding you if you make it worth my while and repay me with some form of produce. The strawberry plants seemed quite amenable to that sort of agreement.

And yet, they were so inextricably interwoven with the other stuff. It would take hours of meticulous work to try to separate them, and knowing that ground cover I'd be out there doing the same thing week after week.

Reason spoke up, reminding me that if I did have to have strawberries I could simply purchase a new flat of them for several bucks, thereby sparing myself the pain and frustration of salvaging these plants.

But I have a soft spot for growing, thriving things (unless you're the ground cover that I've tried unsuccessfully to kill, and then you can just get the F out). I also am irresistibly compelled to root for the underdog. The strawberries gazed up at me hopefully and brandished their fuzzy yellow flowers.

"Oh, all right!" I said. The strawberries erupted in celebration, and I proceeded to spend the next 14 hours squinting at root clusters and cursing.

And now the damn birds will have a nice crop of well-groomed berries to dine on. Trust me, I harbor no false illusions.

Monday, April 04, 2005

I'd like to propose that days of the week be given a different numbering system than weekends. If something is due on April 1 and I get it to you on April 4, for example, it's only one day late. But that's not how it looks on the status report.

This weekend I learned why I am not allowed to bake cakes.

Because I eat them.

I made the cake Friday because Matilda was starting to emerge from marathon puking, and as we were sitting there watching TV, she saw someone pulling a cake out of the oven. And Matilda said, "Cake sounds good!"

When your child has refused to eat or drink anything for three days, as a mother you start to get a little crazy. I pounced on it. "What kind of cake?" I asked. "Do you want icing? What kind of icing? And ice cream? With strawberries? And chocolate milk? And cookies?"

Matilda shrugged and settled back into her ketone-laced food indifference. I, however, now wanted cake almost as much as I wanted her to eat something.

There's something about having a big, fat, fluffy cake in a 9x12 pan sitting in your kitchen all weekend. No matter what you're doing, you're acutely aware of it. It beckons you in from working in the yard just to hack off a chunk of it and shove it in your mouth. It draws attention to itself when you're stacking dishes in the cabinet. You can even hear it calling over the roar of the vaccuum cleaner.

And it seems like no matter how much of the cake you eat, there's still about half the cake left in the pan.

"I had cake for breakfast," Gary confessed yesterday.

"So did I," I said. "And I'm also planning to have cake for lunch."

If it keeps up like this, we might be able to feed several impoverished nations with one cake.

There's a loaves and fishes parallel in here somewhere, but I'm not drawing any grand conclusions.